Biodegradable running shoe joins race to curb landfill waste

New BioMoGo foam midsole contains a natural additive that encourages anaerobic microbes to break it down more easily once it hits the landfill.

Brooks' Trance 8 men's running shoes might be silver, blue, black, and gray, but they're actually quite green. The shoes feature Brooks' new BioMoGo foam midsole, which contains a natural additive that encourages anaerobic microbes to break the shoe down more easily once it hits the landfill.

The footwear company is debuting BioMoGo in the $140 Trance 8 this month, with plans to extend the technology to all Brooks performance running shoes by the end of 2009.

Brooks Trance 8
Brooks' Trace 8 is made to biodegrade more readily in active landfills. Brooks

Knowing how crucial sturdy shoes are to any runner, Brooks is making a point of stressing that shoes with BioMoGo midsoles won't just spontaneously fall apart in your closet or while you're taking a jog around the local track.

That's because the material enhances a type of biodegradation that requires the simultaneous occurrence of three environmental conditions: the absence of oxygen, the presence of many microbes, and the existence of moisture.

"You will not find these three environmental conditions in places where shoes are worn or stored," the company explains. "Biodegradation can only happen once the shoe has been thrown away and buried deep in an active enclosed landfill."

Brooks says that while traditional ethylene vinyl acetate midsoles can last up to 1,000 years in an enclosed landfill, tests have shown that BioMoGo can biodegrade in roughly 20 years when placed in the same environment. By using BioMoGo in its shoes, Brooks predicts it will save nearly 30 million pounds of landfill waste over a 20-year period.

The company says it deliberately decided not to patent its technology, but instead to share it with other footwear companies as part of its overall green initiative. Thanks to Uncrate for running this one by us.